CARBON DIOXIDE - CO2
Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless, inert, non- toxic gas. It is produced during the combustion of fossil fuels in the presence of oxygen. Carbon dioxide is one of the main natural greenhouse gases. The atmospheric lifetime of CO2 is about 100 years.
CDM (Clean Development Mechanism)
Created by the Kyoto Protocol, this mechanism allows developed countries to finance projects that reduce the amount of GHGs emitted. In return, the project investors receive carbon credits (CER). Under the supervision of the United Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) of the Kyoto Protocol, the MDP helps developing countries to develop sustainable technologies and helps industrialsed countries to reduce the amount of GHG they emit, through a compensation mechanism (the CDM).
CER (Certified Emission Reductions)
One CER is a carbon credit which is equivalent to the destruction or avoidance of one tonne of CO2. Carbon credits are issued under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. CERs can be used by developed countries in order to comply with their emission reduction targets. As a commodity, they can be traded on the carbon markets. Ultimately, they are used by industrial sites under carbon quotas to compensate for their excess GHG emissions.
EU ETS (European Union Emissions Trading System)
The EU ETS is presently the biggest market of carbon credits in the world and is central to the EUs environmental political views. It was created in order to help member states and their enterprises to achieve their objectives under the Kyoto Protocol. The EU ETS determines how much GHG each country and industrial site is allowed to emit. The EU ETS covers about 10,000 industrial sites in Europe.
EUA (European Union Allowances)
The carbon credits are designed to allow enterprises to emit a limited amount of GHG. 1 EUA is equivalent to 1 tonne of emitted CO2. Industrial sites that emit more than they should must by extra carbon credits, either CERs or from enterprises who haven’t used up all of their EUAs and therefore have a surplus.
GREENHOUSE GAS EFFECT
Many chemical compounds found on the Earth’s atmosphere act as “greenhouse gases”. These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely. When sunlight strikes the Earth’s surface, some of it is re-radiatedback towards towards space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap its heat in the atmosphere.
There are more than 40 greenhouse gases on Earth, which include carbon dioxide and methane. They are mainly natural gases, however due to human activities there has been an increase in the amount of these gases and this has caused climate warming. The two main GHG are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aimed at fighting global warming. The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty with the goal of achieving "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. The Protocol was initially adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan and entered into force in 2005. As of November 2009, 187 states have signed and ratified the protocol. Under the Protocol, 37 industrialized countries (called "Annex I countries") commit themselves to a reduction of GHG emissions by 5.2% by 2012 at from the 1990 levels. In contrast, developing countries are not restricted to the amount of GHG they emit but are encouraged to develop in a sustainable way.
METHANE - CH4
Colourless and odourless gas, it is the main component of naturel gas. It is realeased in the atmosphere when organis matter decomposes when in the absence or very low level of oxygen. Methane contributes significantly to the greenhouse gas effect: one tonne of methane is as harmful as 21 equivalent tonnes of CO2 as set out by the Kyoto Protocol.